The former president of Afghanistan called on his countrymen to “stop the USA” after what he said was Washington using Nangarhar province as a testing ground for the biggest non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal.
“I vehemently and in strongest words condemn the dropping of the latest weapon, the largest non-nuclear bomb, on Afghanistan by US military,” tweeted Hamid Karzai. “This is not the war on terror but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons.”
“It is upon us, Afghans, to stop the USA,” he added.
It was the first time the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast — aka the Mother of All Bombs, first tested by the U.S. in 2003 — was used in combat.
Resolute Support Mission said the bomb packed with 11 tons of TNT was dropped at 7:13 p.m. local time in the Achin District of Nangarhar province “as part of an ongoing effort to defeat ISIS-K in Afghanistan in 2017.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had not made a statement about the strikes.
Afghan Ambassador to the U.S. Hamdullah Mohib told CNN that Afghan and U.S. forces had been conducing an operation against ISIS in the province for more than six weeks, a fight that had “intensified” over the past week.
Mohib said troops got to the point where they “couldn’t make any further progress” as ISIS had heavily mined the area.
“That resulted in dropping the bomb that would clear the tunnel complex,” the ambassador said, in order to flush terrorists out of underground networks in which they could move freely and “force them to move on surface, be detectable.”
Mohib said the U.S. and Afghanistan are “coordinating quite closely” in “making sure we have a winning strategy in Afghanistan.”
The area targeted “has been cleared,” he said, adding forces would be moving in with daylight to assess the impact of the strike.
Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported that the governor of the targeted district said there were no civilian residences in the rugged area struck by the MOAB.